Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yes, Cindy, There Is a Lobster Claus!

[Planned to file this under "business succession planning gone awry" but had to move it to "storybook endings."]

Some weeks ago, Alphonse D'Amico and his wife, two hungry tourists from Massachusetts, pulled up to a seafood restaurant they hadn't visited before – Cap'n Simeon's Galley on the shore of Kittery Point, Maine. They found the restaurant closed. Not merely closed, the D'Amicos learned, but bankrupt. Both Cap'n Simeon's and the adjoining Frisbee's Market, run by the Frisbee family for 180 years, had finally kicked the financial bucket.

Cindy Frisbee and her brother were the sixth generation in the business. After buying out their parents, Frank and Evelyn Frisbee, in 2001, Cindy took over Cap'n Simeons; her brother ran Frisbee's Market.

Misfortunes ensued, including the brother's illness and eventual death. Debts mounted, and with the credit crunch, Cindy could not find new financing. Last Thursday, April 23, Cap'n Simeon's and Frisbee's Market were sold at bankruptcy auction for just over $1 million.

The buyer? That's where Lobster Claus makes his appearance, in the guise of Alphonse D'Amico, the hungry tourist:
Moments after D’Amico was declared the high bidder at an auction in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Portland, Cindy started crying, dad Frank beamed through glistening eyes and D’Amico, a Saugus, Mass., businessman, declared he was “too choked up” to talk.

D’Amico said later he has purchased Frisbee’s Market and Cap’n
Simeon’s Galley restaurant with the intent of allowing Cindy and Frank to continue to run the two businesses until such time as they can get back on their feet and buy them back.
Cindy plans to have Cap'n Simeon's open by Mother's Day.
Some miles down the Maine coast from Cap'n Simeon's stands famed Nubble Light. Each midsummer, tourists flock to The Nubble for a festival known as Christmas in July. The Frisbees of Kittery Point might start celebrating Christmas in April.

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